Europe

French left rallies against President Francois Hollande

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Media captionWatch Maddy Savage report from the centre of the protest, where she says people feel Francois Hollande's first year results are "not good enough"

Tens of thousands of protesters have rallied in Paris to express their dissatisfaction with French President Francois Hollande ahead of the first anniversary of his election.

The left-wing demonstrators accuse the president of abandoning socialism with his austerity policies.

Recent opinion polls show Mr Hollande's approval rating among the public has fallen to about 25%.

This is the biggest slump for any French president in the past 50 years.

Many people are angered by the weak economy and soaring unemployment.

Image caption Mr Melenchon called for the protest and was a key speaker

And correspondents say Mr Hollande's vision of a fairer society does not sit well with the recent scandal involving his former budget minister Jerome Cahuzac, who admitted lying about a savings account in Switzerland.

Separately, opponents of gay marriage held protests in several major cities calling for the president not to sign a law passed by parliament last month allowing same-sex couples to wed and adopt children.

'Never-ending pain'

Organisers of the anti-austerity demonstration estimated that about 180,000 people took part, but police put the figure at just 30,000.

Left-wing former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who organised the protest, accused Mr Hollande of betraying his supporters.

"We don't want the financial world taking the power, we don't accept austerity measures which doom our people, like all people in Europe, to never-ending pain," he said.

In response, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said: "There is no austerity, that's a propaganda invention," adding that reforms would "bear fruit little by little".

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